It looks like an early-season slump was just a blip on the radar for Teemu Pulkkinen.
After struggling out of the gates with just eight points in his first 26 contests, Pulkkinen has rediscovered his scoring touch with Helsinki Jokerit of the Finnish SM-Liiga since late November, scoring nine goals along with 11 assists for 20 points in his past 24 games. All told, he has 28 points in 50 contests.
“Pulkkinen put in a great summer in terms of off-ice practicing and showed up in his best shape (of his career) by far, and he just couldn’t score,” said Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “Everybody was a little frustrated by that, most of all, himself, but he’s starting to produce. He’s starting to hum along nicely.”
The 21-year-old also struggled late last season with Jokerit, with just two goals and five assists in his final 17 games.
Compared favorably to Jari Kurri and Brett Hull because of his lightning release and knack for getting into scoring position, conditioning has never been a strong suit for the 5-foot-11, 183-pounder. Beyond goals and assists, Pulkkinen’s commitment to getting in shape in the off-season is perhaps the most important step in his development.
“We all know what he can do with the puck and we were all worried with his overall shape,” Andersson said. “But he put in a really good summer and everybody’s pleased with how he’s in shape.”
Pulkkinen, a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, is in the first year of a three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings. Andersson said it’s too early to say whether Red Wings management will bring Pulkkinen to North America next season.
“If he takes off, makes the national team (for the IIHF world championship), all kinds of things can to happen,” he said. “We’ll just wait and see and take it from there.”
NOTES: Goaltender Petr Mrazek posted a 26-save win over St. Louis in his NHL debut while forwards Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson are getting ice time with Red Wings in a recent call-up, with Tatar getting 12 minutes per game in four contests and Andersson nine minutes a night in two outings … Center Alan Quine (Belleville, OHL) is running wild since a January trade and has 23 points in 12 games since joining the Bulls. Belleville is 31-14-3-3, third in the OHL … Defenseman Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) is shooting the lights out with 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in his past 10 games and has taken over the OHL lead in defense scoring despite missing 17 games with a broken arm. In total, he has 52 points in just 37 games … Right-winger Martin Frk (Halifax, QMJHL) had a slow start but you can’t argue with his production from November on. In his past 28 games, he has 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points and is getting plenty of time riding shotgun with 2013 draft stars Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.
Following is this week’s statistical report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||47||15||17||33||31||-1||100|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||36||10||17||27||55||+1||84|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||30||3||5||8||33||+6||30|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||36||2||4||6||23||+4||38|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||44||19||20||39||44||+13||147|
|Almquist, Adam||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||44||6||14||20||24||+3||59|
|Nicastro, Max||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||9||1||1||2||5||+3||7|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||28||3||4||7||36||-1||51|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||45||13||12||26||25||+13||73|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||38||1||4||5||35||-1||51|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||42||6||7||13||82||+2||64|
|Jurco, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||45||6||6||12||14||-4||56|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||1||2||3||23||0||12|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud State||WCHA||NCAA||30||3||20||23||12||+9||45|
|De Haas, James||Penticton||USHL/JR-A||BCHL||44||5||18||23||19||–||–|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||CHL||OHL||37||18||34||52||33||+3||–|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||CHL||WHL||57||5||18||23||87||-14||–|
|Marchenko, Alexey||CSKA Moscow||EUR||KHL||42||4||5||9||6||0||45|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||20||11||8||1||2||2.80||.898|
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||4||0||3||0||0||4.32||.847|
|Mrazek, Petr||Grand Rapids||AHL||25||16||7||1||1||2.26||.916|